Raccoons are intelligent, curious, and highly adaptable creatures that are native to North America. With their distinctive black masks and ringed tails, these medium-sized mammals are a common sight in urban, suburban, and rural environments. While raccoons can be entertaining to watch, they can also cause problems for homeowners and businesses. In this article, we will explore the biology of raccoons, where they build nests, indicators of their presence, and how to prevent raccoon problems.
Biology of Raccoon
Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are part of the Procyonidae family, which includes coatis and ringtails. They are omnivores, meaning that they eat both plants and animals, and have a varied diet that includes insects, fruits, nuts, small mammals, and fish. Raccoons are nocturnal animals, which means that they are most active at night. They are also excellent climbers and swimmers, and can easily adapt to different environments, from forests to urban areas.
Raccoons are known for their intelligence and problem-solving abilities. They have dexterous front paws that enable them to manipulate objects, and they have been observed using tools and solving puzzles in captivity. Raccoons are also highly social animals and live in family groups called “nurseries.”
Where do they Build Nests?
Raccoons build their nests, or dens, in a variety of locations, including tree cavities, hollow logs, and abandoned buildings. They may also dig burrows underground or take over the nests of other animals, such as squirrels. Raccoons prefer to build their nests in secluded areas that offer protection from predators and the elements.
Indicators of Raccoon
Raccoons are known for their distinctive tracks, which feature five toes and a distinctive “hand-like” shape. They are also known for their vocalizations, which include chirps, growls, and purrs. Other indicators of raccoon activity include overturned garbage cans, damage to gardens and lawns, and scratches on trees or buildings. Raccoons are also known carriers of diseases, such as rabies and leptospirosis, so it is important to avoid contact with them.
Preventing Raccoon Problems
To prevent raccoon problems, it is important to eliminate sources of food and shelter that may attract them to your property. This includes securing garbage cans, bird feeders, and pet food, and sealing up any holes or gaps in your home’s exterior. If you have fruit trees, it is important to pick up fallen fruit regularly. You can also discourage raccoons from nesting on your property by trimming trees and removing any piles of brush or debris.
In some cases, it may be necessary to hire a professional wildlife removal company to remove raccoons from your property. Never attempt to trap or handle raccoons on your own, as they can be dangerous and may carry diseases. If you suspect that you have a raccoon problem, it is best to contact a professional for assistance.
Raccoons are fascinating and intelligent creatures that are well-adapted to life in a variety of environments. While they can be entertaining to watch, they can also cause problems for homeowners and businesses. By understanding the biology of raccoons and taking steps to prevent problems, you can coexist with these creatures in a safe and respectful manner.